Five college administrators began monitoring the swine flu outbreak on Monday in response to reports of new infections in the US.
“We have a five-college Consortium set of protocols which have been engaged at the lowest level,” said Pomona Dean of Campus Life Ric Townes.
The colleges established a task force to monitor the situation and communicate with the community. The chair of the committee is Bob Walton, CEO of the Claremont University Consortium. The committee includes representatives from campus safety, deans from all the colleges, public relations, and environmental safety experts.
“We started monitoring yesterday,” Pomona College Dean of Students Miriam Feldblum said. “The Consortium and Student Health Services take the lead in coordinating responses in situations like this.”
Swine influenza is a mutated form of a disease that affects pigs. The symptoms are similar to the common flu, and it spreads when an infected individuals coughs or sneezes near another person.
There have been nearly 70 cases of swine flu in the United States. These cases appeared in California, Texas, Kansas, Ohio, and New York. Officials reported that a potential case of swine flu at a Claremont high school was not an instance of the disease. Over 100 deaths in Mexico have been linked to the disease.
Pomona College has advised that people reschedule non-essential travel to Mexico.
Deans from all of the colleges began discussing the issue over the past weekend. A statement was issued by each of the five colleges regarding the situation.
The statement reported that the 5Cs will be following a protocol developed in 2006 to deal with medical emergencies. The statement included information about swine influenza symptoms and recommendations about how to avoid the disease.
More information about swine flu can be found on the official website for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.